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Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant- Historical Ecology at Alluitsoq Fjord: Inuit Negotiations of World Systems Changes in Colonial-Era Greenland

General

Project start
01.01.2019
Project end
31.12.2021
Type of project
ARMAP/NSF
Project theme
Society, economy and culture
Project topic
Culture & history

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
23.06.2019
Fieldwork end
03.08.2019

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
18.06.2019
Fieldwork end
15.08.2019

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
22.06.2019
Fieldwork end
13.08.2019

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
01.01.2020
Fieldwork end
31.12.2020

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
01.01.2020
Fieldwork end
31.12.2020

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
01.01.2020
Fieldwork end
31.12.2020

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
01.01.2020
Fieldwork end
31.12.2020

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 0, 0

Fieldwork start
01.01.2020
Fieldwork end
31.12.2020

SAR information

Project details

02.12.2019
Science / project summary

Food is a key element in human social identities and reconstructing how foodways (i.e., the cultural, social, and economic practices related to food production and consumption) have changed or persisted offers insight into how people remake themselves in times of intensive cross-cultural interaction and access to new, imported goods. Through investigations of Inuit foodways at the former Moravian mission of Lichtenau (1774-1974, now Alluitsoq), this project moves archaeological and anthropological studies in southernmost Greenland in a new direction by focusing on the emergence of new ethnic identities (i.e., ethnogenesis) and the sociopolitical dimensions of food during the colonial era. This project will integrate analysis of artifacts, animal bones, fat residue from foods, historic records, and local resident participation to better understand these interactions. The project was designed and will be carried out in conjunction with local Greenlandic communities, the Greenland National Museum and Archives, the University of Greenland, the University of Stirling (Scotland), and the Danish National Museum. Further, project data will be made available to other researchers working in diverse fields ranging from ancient DNA studies to environmental restoration and have applicability to Inuit societies across North America. Finally, the Alluitsoq project builds local capacity to mitigate loss of coastal heritage and takes part in world-wide efforts to save coastal archaeological sites in the Arctic, with implications for Alaskan coastal communities. Advanced, well-established archaeological and ethnographic methods are integrated with the theoretical perspective of Historical Ecology to answer two research questions: 1) Do foodways exhibit statistically significant changes during the late 18th to early 20th century occupation of Alluitsoq; and 2) are foodways used to generate and perform an emergent ethnic and national Inuit identity in Colonial Greenland. Reconstructing past foodway change and persistence is achieved through an analysis of durable faunal remains that considers represented species, minimum numbers of individuals of different taxa, and processing evidence. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of lipids preserved on artifacts and in sediment deposits reveals the contribution of non-durable or completely consumed foods (e.g., dried peas or wheat flour) to the diet of Alluitsoq residents. Ethnohistoric data from descendant interviews and historic documents build an interpretive framework to assess whether the observed foodway patterns are the result of reconfigured Inuit ethnic identities. To articulate these ethnohistoric data with archaeological results, the researchers use the methods of Grounded Theory to code interviews and documents, identify conceptual categories, and assess the salience of ethnic taxa to the historic and present-day Greenlandic community.

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